Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September 6: Thump

Earlier this evening I was alone in the office, working late, when I was startled out of my computer-screen daze by a loud "thump" on the door. I occasionally hear those heart-breaking small thuds of a bird hitting a window of my office. I've put ultraviolet stickers on the windows most commonly hit, and that's helped, but it seems like during spring and fall migrations one or two still try to fly through glass. But this noise tonight was much louder than anything I'd heard before. That had to have been a big bird, if it even was a bird. My mind (and pulse) raced--what would I see when I went outside? One of the local blue jays I enjoy so much? The kingfisher that's been rattling up and down the river all afternoon? Nothing could have survived that loud a crash.

To my surprise and horror, a sharp-shinned hawk was fluttering on the office patio outside the door. As I instinctively moved toward it--what did I think I was going to do, hold it cupped in my hands till it recovered, like all those warblers and chickadees?--it moved away, flapping onto the lawn. It looked broken. In instant anguish, I imagined having to figure out what to do with a small but seriously injured bird of prey. But as I stepped toward it again, it flew up into the dogwood tree, and from there, almost immediately flew off toward the river. It seemed ok, flying straight and using both wings. My relief was great, though it all happened so fast, my heart is still racing even now.

Hunting hawk, intent,
hit window. My heart lifted
with it when it flew.

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